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How have past Heisman winners fared in the NFL?

We take a look back at how some recent Heisman winners have translated their college success to the NFL.

Tennessee Titans v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The 2022 Heisman finalists are headed to New York this weekend, and projected top draft pick and 2021 Heisman winner Bryce Young is not among the group of four. As C.J. Stroud of Ohio State, Max Duggan of TCU, Caleb Williams from USC, and Stetson Bennett IV of Georgia compete for college football’s most prestigious award, we take a look back at how some of the past Heisman winners have fared in the NFL.

Success in college doesn’t always translate smoothly to a long career in the big leagues — take one look at Johnny Manziel, for example. The 2012 Heisman winner made it just two seasons in the NFL due to consistency issues on the field and legal issues off the field. Tim Tebow (2007) was somewhat of a disappointment during his time with the Broncos, and 2004 winner Matt Leinart had more interceptions than touchdown passes in his six years as a pro.

Plenty of the NFL’s current starting QBs won the Heisman in their college days. Joe Burrow (2019) came off a Heisman and an NCAA championship to lead the Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance. Kyler Murray (2018), Jameis Winston (2013), and Marcus Mariota (2014) have all found some success in the NFL. Baker Mayfield (2017) is still trying to find a more permanent home in the league, while Lamar Jackson (2016) won the NFL MVP award in 2019, as did the recently retired Cam Newton (2010) in 2015.

The three non-quarterback winners this century are currently in the league have more of a consistent level of success. Running backs Derrick Henry (2015) and Mark Ingram (2009) have thrived in their NFL careers, and the 2020 winner, wide receiver DeVonta Smith, is off to a good start in two seasons with the Eagles.